The spatiotemporal context of individual specialization in resource use and environmental associations

Raul Costa-Pereira*, Pei Jen Lee Shaner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. Individual niche specialization is widespread in natural populations and has key implications for higher levels of biological organization. This phenomenon, however, has been primarily quantified in resource niche axes, overlooking individual variation in environmental associations (i.e. abiotic conditions organisms experience). 2. Here, we explore what we can learn from a multidimensional perspective of individual niche specialization that integrates resource use and environmental associations into a common framework. 3. By combining predictions from theory and simple simulations, we illustrate how (i) multidimensional intraspecific niche variation and (ii) the spatiotemporal context of interactions between conspecifics scale up to shape emergent patterns of the population niche. 4. Contemplating individual specialization as a multidimensional, unifying concept across biotic and abiotic niche axes is a fundamental step towards bringing this concept closer to the n-dimensional niche envisioned by Hutchinson.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • diel activity
  • hypervolume n-dimensional
  • intraspecific variation
  • multidimensional niche
  • niche modelling
  • space use
  • stable isotopes
  • trophic niche

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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